Psychotherapy Psychotherapy is a general term for meeting and talking with a psychotherapist to understand and resolve psychiatric difficulties. There are many different types of psychotherapy. I usually combine elements from several types in my work, with the particular combination used depending on an individual patient's needs and preferences.
These are the types of psychotherapy I most commonly use: 1. Psychodynamic psychotherapy - helps you understand how your central beliefs and desires (both conscious and unconscious) have formed and now influence how you live your life. 2. Cognitive-behavioral therapy – teaches you to observe habitual thoughts related to problematic feelings and then correct distortions in those thoughts. 3. Lifespan Integration – uses review of a timeline to aid in resolving past difficulties and also in establishing positive core states such as safety, hope and worthiness. 4. Systems therapy – develops your ability to see patterns in the interactions between the people you are involved with and also to understand how to change those patterns, when possible. 5. Supportive therapy- provides understanding in difficult times and support with problem-solving.
Psychiatric Medications Psychiatric medications such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, and ADD medications are, at times, beneficial. Some patients are specifically interested in finding out whether medications may help them. Others have no interest at all in taking medications.
When I do an evaluation, I consider the possibility of medication. It is my job to provide reliable information about
whether a medication is likely to help, the risks and benefits, and the
alternatives. I may strongly recommend medication, suggest it as a possible option, or conclude that medication is not likely to help at all
If I recommend medication, and a patient wishes to follow that recommendation, the patient and I typically agree on the signs of a good response. If an adequate trial of a medication does not produce a good response, it's usually important to discontinue that medication and consider other medication trials. Close follow-up is important.
Combined Psychotherapy and Medication Some people I work with are in psychotherapy with me and also take medication. Having one doctor do both has some advantages. The frequent contact of psychotherapy can make it easier for me to understand the person's daily function, and adjust medications appropriately and rapidly.
Medication Management without Psychotherapy Sometimes I evaluate patients for medication only, while they continue their ongoing psychotherapy with a psychotherapist who does not prescribe medications (a psychologist or a social worker, perhaps). In this case, I typically meet with the person less often, but I must be able to communicate with their psychotherapist.